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Subject: Re: The Most Important Soprano Since Callas and Sutherland?
From: Max Paley <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Max Paley <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Fri, 5 Aug 2016 05:25:12 +0100
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I agree with Bob.  The Karajan recording is, for me, one of the great opera recordings.  If Karajan always conducted like that, we'd all be thinking of him as the great Verdi conductor after Toscanini.

On that studio recording, I find Callas' upper notes often tight, shrill and unsteady but I also find the middle and lower voice even more beautiful and compelling than in her earlier and live performances.  I think it makes a strong argument for the potential strengths of studio recording in the careful detail she and Karajan produce, to extraordinary musical and expressive effect, that is different from what one heard from live recordings but certainly has its own value.

In terms of range of emotional color and mastery of expression through verbal and musical nuance, it's the greatest Leonora I've ever heard.  Those qualities enable me to listen past the unpleasant high notes.

Max Paley

Sent from my iPad

> On Aug 4, 2016, at 23:53, Bob Rideout <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> 
> Les
> 
> I could not disagree more.  Her 1951 performance from Naples,
> with Lauri Volpi, Elmo and Silveri, is absolutely breathtaking in its
> dramatic breadth and its technical facility. The performance was
> roundly booed, but Lauri Volpi said the following day that while
> everyone else deserved the audience's outbursts of disapproval,
> Callas was magnificent and in a place apart from the rest of the
> cast. I agree!
> 
> The Karajan studio recording shows her in compromised voice at the
> very top, but her ability to sculpt a musical line, even in less than
> flawless voice, is one of the miracles of vocalism in the modern era.
> Her phrasing is jaw dropping!! I realize that there are many ways of hearing
> music, and that her voice is an issue for some, but those for whom her
> vocalism is a problem, know iittle about music, rhythm, phrasing or
> dynamics. She had no equal as an interpreter of music, even on a bad
> day!
> 
> Bob
> 
>> On Thursday, August 4, 2016, Les Mitnick <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>> 
>> Max:
>> Good post! Despite my great admiration and respect for Maria Callas, I
>> must admit that I am not a great fan of her Leonora in "Trovatore". Oh,
>> she's certainly dark and mysterious enough, and she encompasses the notes,
>> but somehow I find this to be one of the very few roles I have a problem
>> with where Callas is concerned. I find the character very one dimensional,
>> and it certainly doesn't give Callas the opportunity to exercise her real
>> magic. Besides, the opera is dominated by Azucena, who, like Amneris, sings
>> the last notes of the opera. Leonora has some beautiful music to sing, no
>> doubt, and some great sopranos like Milanov, Price, Caballe, and
>> Radvanovsky have made beautiful effects with it. But in no sense does
>> Callas' Leonora in Trovatore approach her Norma, Medea, Lady Macbeth,
>> Sonnambula, Lucia, or some of her other searing interpretations. The role
>> of Leonora simply doesn't allow for such histrionics. I find her very
>> boring and silly.
>> L.M.
>> ----- Original Message -----
>> 
>> From: "Max D. Winter" <[log in to unmask] <javascript:;>>
>> To: "OPERA-L" <[log in to unmask] <javascript:;>>
>> Sent: Thursday, August 4, 2016 11:10:33 AM
>> Subject: Re: The Most Important Soprano Since Callas and Sutherland?
>> 
>> Mike Leone wrote:
>> 
>> "I saw one of Netrebko's performances of Trovatore at the Met and
>> absolutely could not
>> believe I was sitting there during her "D'amor sull'ali rosee" and hearing
>> what was probably
>> the single most gorgeous piece of singing I had ever heard in my life."
>> 
>> I agree completely that Netrebko is an outstanding singer who can stand on
>> her own
>> without fatuous and preposterous comparisons to Callas and Sutherland. In
>> any case, I
>> don't think the comparison is necessarily flattering to Netrebko;
>> inflating a singer's talents,
>> however considerable, beyond their scope diminishes rather than exalts.
>> 
>> I thought Netrebko's Lady Macbeth at the Met a couple of years ago was
>> sensational, quite
>> the best I have heard or seen, live, since Shirley Verrett in 1976. And I
>> agree completely
>> with Mike Leone that her Leonora last season was one of the great ones in
>> my experience.
>> (Before that run of performances, I had despaired of ever again hearing
>> "Trovatore" sung by
>> four singers in complete vocal and stylistic command of their roles.)
>> Netrebko's true fach is
>> in the spinto repertoire and in that, at the present time, she is the best.
>> 
>> But notwithstanding her considerable gifts, Netrebko is not a singer of
>> historic significance
>> like Callas and Sutherland, nor does she have the all-encompassing vocal
>> technique of those
>> two great ladies. Only the fatuous James Camner, whose fan-boy effusions
>> are the critical
>> equivalent of all-caps and exclamation marks, would be silly enough to
>> make such a
>> comparison which flatters no one, certainly not Mr. Camner himself.
>> 
>> MDW
>> 
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